The Great Animal Versus Vegetable Protein Debate
What Is The Best Protein For Muscle Growth?
By Dr. Bill Misner, Ph.D.

AUTHOR'S PREVIEW I would like to acknowledge this is a debatable subject firstly because the human metabolic system is highly adaptive to a variety exogenous protein foods, secondly because one protein protocol "Size" may not fit all, and lastly because we are still fine-tuning from the data collected in peer-reviewed research of the appropriately interpreted information for reliable conclusions. As a warning to the reader, this article may stir one to confirm their stance on which protein you have determined is the best for post- exercise-induced muscle growth.



Which of the 2 two Protein classes, Animal or Vegetable is the best protein?

Is there a single or multiple of protein foods that best promotes rapid muscle growth in endurance athletes? The animal proteins, Whey & Egg Whites are currently the favorites used by strength athletes while a multiple of plant proteins from Soy, Peanut, Corn, Rice and Wheat sources are the favorites of a number of endurance athletes who advocate as health the prime pillar supporting their performance. This is a debatable subject with volumes of numerical definitions, yet it generally lacks a complete, responsible, conclusive rationale. Athletes need to consider which protein or which combination of proteins best enhances the optimal post-workout muscle growth in their bodies. The choice may be resolved after careful evaluation of some of the existing scientific methods for rating protein quality. Pellett & Young summarized this issue well, "The concept of a single pattern of amino acids that may be used as a yardstick in comparing the nutritive value of food and diets is subject to the same limitations and qualifications as is the concept of 'protein quality.'

The relative proportions in which the essential amino acids are needed almost certainly depend upon the species, its physiological state, and interrelationships and interactions among the amino acids themselves. The pattern of amino acids required for maintenance may be quite different from the optimal pattern to support maximum growth. In addition, the limited accuracy of amino determinations in food and the problem of biological availability of the amino acids present further complications. However, the advantage of a method of dietary assessment in terms of amino acids is considerable, and is, in many circumstances, the only practical approach."[1]


The BV is an accurate indicator of biological activity of protein, measuring the actual amount of protein deposited per gram of protein absorbed. BV measure of protein quality expresses the rate of efficiency with which protein is used for growth. As a rule-of thumb, high BV-proteins are better for nitrogen retention, immunity, IGF-1 stimulation, and are superior for reducing lean tissue loss from various wasting states than proteins with a low BV score. Generally, high BV-proteins are more anti-catabolic than low BV- proteins.[2] STRENGTH TRAINING applications favor dietary protein sources with a high biological value. On a scale with 100 representing MAX-efficiency, these are the biological values[BV] of proteins in several foods.[3]:

Egg 93.7
Milk 84.5
Fish 76.0
Beef 74.3
Soybeans 72.8
Rice, polished 64.0
Wheat, whole 64.0
Corn 60.0
Beans, dry 58.0
*Biological Value[BV]=proportion of protein retained in the human body for maintenance and or growth.
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